Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

It was summer of 2004 marking the beginning of an end to our university life. At last moments, 9/10 of us in the gang decided about going on Pakistan Tour arranged by our dear alma mater FAST. The itinerary included traveling in train from Karachi to Islamabad and then going up to the northern areas. The highlights consists of

  • A day trip to Muree/Patriata
  • Staying in Balakot and visiting Shogran and Sri/Paye from there. (Sri all covered in clouds and remember what we found there;) )
  • Going to Naran Valley (the nestle coffee rocked, the breakfast was amazing and rooms got unlocked?) for seeing the out of the world spectacular Saif ul Malook, camping at night and Lalazar where the greenery was breathtaking beautiful
  • A trip to Swat Valley included stay at Bahrain (room was too good but remember the food we ordered the first night?), visting Mingora and Kalam and Malamjaaba
  • And going to Thandiani which had all shades of green from Abbotabad

The list is not complete as there were many stopovers on the way. And the beauty witnessed can never be described in words (by yours truly at least). The detail of every place we vacationed at is still imprinted in my mind and the fun we had was priceless.

This post isn’t about our trip but more about what I recall from the Swat Valley. It’s heart wrenching to see people forced to migrating within their own country and the area ravaged by war. I remember Naran and Swat were the most developed places among others, the tourists were welcomed, and there was no forcing of wills on others about dressing and covering up. Except for one girl who observed the full hijab (wearing abaya) and 2-3 of us who used to cover our head, remaining ones weren’t observing any sorts of hijab (but not observing hijab doesn’t mean they were improperly dressed). Also, there was no ban on wearing westernized clothes in any part. None of the local people ever tried to comment on how people were dressed up, who was traveling with whom and the likes. These days, all we get to hear apart from the displaced people and the war in Swat is how females are subjugated and children aren’t allowed to go to school. Back then, there was no trouble in paradise and this is how I want to keep my memories about Swat too!

Just sharing a few awesome pictures of Swat found at flickr

A view of mountains in Swat
A view of mountains in Swat
Mankhial Mountains - Crown of Swat Valley

Mankhial Mountains - Crown of Swat Valley

Malam Jabba Resort covered in snow

Malam Jabba Resort covered in snow. The PTDC hotel which was arson can also be seen in the background

Glacier in Kalam

Glacier in Kalam

Anyways, coming to an important point, this week Em and I were discussing how to help the refugees because I didn’t want to give the money to any political, religious party because I am not sure if the funds do reach the intended. He directed me to Jehanara’s post about P@SHA efforts on raising money for the victims. Donations can be made online so it’ll easier for anyone living abroad who wants to contribute. Also, the software houses in Pakistan can also take it one step further as TPS is doing (thanks to Em and his buddies effortsJ ) by asking their employees to donate (if willing) and giving the money to P@SHA.

I hope our smallest gesture of lending help makes a positive difference in their lives. And the war against the insurgents(?) finish soon and accomplishes a constructive end.